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Changes to BBC HD channels on satellite on 6th June

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Alix Pryde Alix Pryde | 16:52 UK time, Thursday, 2 June 2011

I wanted to let you know about an upcoming change to the way we broadcast our HD channels on satellite, and how this might, or might not, affect you.

One of the BBC's principles is to ensure that we use the spectrum we have available to us in the most efficient way possible. This means that from time to time, as technology develops, we make changes to the way our services are broadcast to ensure we are making best use of this scarce resource.

We will shortly be making such a change to the satellite transponder that carries BBC One HD & BBC HD. The signal on this transponder is currently broadcast using a modulation scheme called "DVB-S". On 6 June we will be upgrading to a newer "DVB-S2" scheme. This is a more efficient way of operating the transponder and it creates more capacity from the same amount of spectrum. More spectral bang for our buck, if you like.

The change will mean different things to different people:

If you watch TV using Freeview or Virgin Media or can't currently view HD channels you will not be affected.

If you have Sky, you will not notice the change and won't have to do anything on or after 6 June.

If you have Freesat you may need to put your HD box or TV into standby for 30 seconds and then restart to continue to receive the two BBC HD channels. If the channels are still unavailable then carry out a 'freesat channel retune' or a 'first time installation'. Full instructions can be found in the manual for your box or TV. Further help with retuning can be found at www.freesat.co.uk or by calling their customer support team on 08450 990 990.

If you have any other kind of satellite receiver, you will need to check that it is capable of receiving a DVB-S2 signal. If it can, then you can use the following parameters to tune manually into the services carried:

Satellite: Astra 2D tp.50
Frequency: 10,847MHz (vertical polarity)
Modulation: DVB-S2, QPSK
Symbol Rate: 23.0
FEC: 8/9

If you are a viewer of our HD services on satellite, I hope this change will be a smooth transition for you. And I thought you'd appreciate an explanation of how this change fits into a bigger picture of our drive to use spectrum ever more efficiently.

Alix Pryde is Director, BBC Distribution

Update 9th June: Alix has now responded to some of your comments. See comment 48 and comment 104. (NR)


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  • Comment number 1.

    This is great news - the move to DVB-S2 should make room for another channel at least - but please not at the expence of the current channels.

    In fact this would be the ideal time for the BBC to move up to Full HD - up from 1440x1080 to 1920x1080

    Please consider doing this - cheers, daveac

  • Comment number 2.

    This sounds like it should be great news! Out of interest, why is this on the Internet Blog and not on the TV Blog?

  • Comment number 3.

    Can you tell us how you will use the extra bandwith? Higher resolution or bitrate for BBC HD and BBC One HD or is there another HD channel on the way?

  • Comment number 4.

    Looking good!

  • Comment number 5.

    Not looking good! Can Mr Pryde comment on the fact that Harvard who manufacture the earlier Freesat HD boxes did not make them support DVB-S2. We cant get CHannel 4 HD and now if BBC HD channels move too, we will lose them. Trade descriptions anyone?????

  • Comment number 6.

    Please use this opportunity to improve the picture quality,and increase resolution to industry standard 1920x1080. Personally, the BBC HD channels are the weakest in terms of picture quality compared to the other HD offerings on Freesat. But nobody at the BBC is interested in listening to the licence payer.

  • Comment number 7.

    As a Freesat'er it has become obvious that of the 5 HD channels we have on offer those from the BBC offer by far the weakest picture quality. The problems are twofold: inferior 'HD' resolution @ 1440 vs 1920 for ITV Granada + 4HD + NHKWorld HD, & a bitrate that is FAR too low. For too long we have been sat on a transponder that has plenty free bitrate, yet this has been wasted as nullbytes!

    Time to get your house in order please - 1920*1080 & high-bitrate VBR/statmux. Please engage again with your viewers instead of just shutting down all our blogs, thinking you are so much better than we are - WE pay for YOU.

  • Comment number 8.

    I hope I am wrong but I suspect that this is just another excuse to cut the already low bit rates even further.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am really annoyed with the BBC. I know the BBC had said that they were going to switch HD services from DVB-S to DVB-S2 but do you know:

    1. Why are you making the change now?
    2. Why are you only giving 4 days notice?

    I am a bit “special” in that I am viewing the BBC HD services via a Windows 7 Media Centre PC and a Twin DVB-S PCI/E card (I also have 4 DVB-T tuners), but I was planning to wait until HD went on Freeview in my area in March 2012 and then go for YouView, or a Freeview+ HD box, or buy a replacement DVB-T2 PCI/E card.

    Instead I now either have to lose HD for the next year, or buy a replacement Twin DVB-S2 card for over £100.

    When Channel 4 HD started in DVB-S2, I was a bit miffed, but not excessively since this was a new channel and there wasn’t much I wanted in HD on Channel 4. Now, with this change the BBC are taking my current service away.

    I assume I will also lose ITV HD, as it is sharing the same transponder as BBC One HD and BBC HD.

    I know buying a Freesat HD box is an option, but I am loathed to buy one at the moment with the G2 spec around the corner, and I wanted to stay with Freeview so I could keep getting channels like Dave.

    I also want to avoid Sky or Virgin if I can and stay “Free”.

    Please can you cancel your DVB-S to DVB-S2 migration this weekend and (perhaps) defer it until after the digital switchover is complete.

  • Comment number 10.

    @BigNickUK Take it up with Harvard, if they've built a Freesat HD STB which doesn't meet the requirements of Freesat HD then you may have a cause.
    If it doesn't have the official Freesat HD markings then sorry, not much anyone can do about it.
    This isn't the BBC / RedBees problem, they are well within their rights to change the modulation.

  • Comment number 11.

    First of all why was this placed on the Internet Blog and not the TV blog. This has nothing to do with the internet.

    As for the Harvard boxes this is clearly a case for the Sale of Goods Act which requires products to be fit for purpose. Just take your box back to the retailer and demand a refund or exchange for a box which does work. It is the retailer who is responsible.

    I am suprised the BBC is going to do this at such short notice particularly as the S2 problem was known about from 4HD. It seems to be due to the lack of forward planning so evident in the BBC these days.

    I suspect this was done for the Wimbledon 3D experiment. The BBC are likely to use the side by side method used by Sky. If the BBC stuck with 1440x1080 the 3D pictures would be 720x1080 and would look like SD instead of HD.

    Let us hope that the extra bandwidth will be used to increase bit rates and resolution.

  • Comment number 12.

    @streetmagix - in the past the BBC has admitted that there are other ways of receiving BBCHD other than official Freesat (such as other HD Satellite receivers and PCs) and have accepted they need to support them as well.

    If the BBC make changes that knowingly force obsolesence they should give sufficient notice for users to adapt.

    @trevorjharris - this time it really does looks like a "panic change" with the old "reasons of efficiency" argument being used as the excuse, but if it is just for a Wimbledon 3D experiment then I am really annoyed.

  • Comment number 13.

    The BBC have been taking a lot of stick for a while now about their seemingly poor HD picture quality (especially over at JoinFreesat). I was quite prepared to think that they know what they're doing until a couple of weeks ago. My wife and I were watching a program about the Battle of Britain we'd recorded off ITV HD last Autumn (yes, I know it's taken us ages to watch it - it was the one when David Jason went up in a Spitfire). She freely admits she's not technically minded at all but she commented to me about how fantastic the picture quality was. "It's HD", I replied. "But isn't BBC One in HD now?" she said "how come it doesn't look as good as that?"

    I resisted the urge to launch into an explanation about bitrates and resolution as I want to stay married but there's no doubt that the picture quality isn't very good on either BBC One HD or BBC HD when you compare it to all the other HD channels on Freesat.

    Someone told me it's because the BBC use a low bitrate on Freeview due to bandwidth restrictions and we get the same lower quality feed on Freesat. If that's the case then shame on you BBC - you should give Freesat users the same quality as we get from your rivals on the platform.

  • Comment number 14.


    1 full working days notice of a frequency and mux change, really?

    When it's the holiday break this isn't anything like enough notice of this change, people who have recordings scheduled up to two weeks ahead will have no opportunity to change their boxes.

    I understand and support the need for the change, but frankly implementation with only 1 days notice smacks of ineptitude.

    I'd appreciate a response to this, if I don't receive one I'll be notifying the BBC Trust regarding it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Please take the opportunity to switch to 1920x1080. Thanks!

  • Comment number 16.

    Will the BBC now also adopt DAB+ (using AAC/AAC+ & Reed-Solomon coding) for digital radio so that the audio quality and signal strength will be improved?

  • Comment number 17.

    @LondonMark are you on about radio via a satellite tv box or are you meaning for DAB radios?

    DAB+ has been decided not to be implemented as it would be too costly as there are too many non-DAB+ supporting radios out there and the bandwidth isn't anywhere near full for DAB which is one of the reasons for using DAB+. For country switching from analog then DAB+ is definately the right decision but for countries who have DAB the cost isn't justifiable for better signal and audio quality.

    I hope BBCHD is made 1080p with higher bitrate, bbc have been testing 1080p recently so it is possible: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/researchanddevelopment/2011/04/software-upgrade-for-bbc-hd-on.shtml

  • Comment number 18.

    The 1080p25 used by the BBC is a bit of a hack. It switches between progressive and interlaced at GOP boundaries. The EBU has been pushing for much better quality at 1080p50. The BBC method will only produce a marginal improvement in quality and may actually decrease the quality. This is only being used on Freeview HD as I suspect that satellite boxes would not handle it.

    It is interesting to note that the the BBC increased the bit rate for the Royal Wedding which really is the first time they have "admitted" to a problem after thousands of complaints from the public.

    So lets us hope that the BBC will use the change to increase bitrate and produce pictures comparable to other channels.

    As for DAB it is best to forget about it. DAB and DAB+ has failed throughout the world.

  • Comment number 19.

    Dear Alix,

    I have read your entry on "BBC Internet Blogs" about the new modulation DVB-S2.
    The bandwith made available will be used for the 3D station that will broadcast certain Wimbledon matches in 3D.
    Can you tell me if test transmissions will start prior to the start of Wimbledon?

    Kind regards,

  • Comment number 20.

    The BBC has not yet announced that they will be transmiting Wimbledon in 3D but Danielle Nagler head of BBC 3D has been droping hints. Up to now Danielle has been very negative about 3D but there are now commercial pressures that the BBC cannot ignore.

    Last January Sky had 70,000 3D subscribers which is 50% of 3D televisions. This means that 3D is growing faster than HD. Probably more importent foreign broadcasters are begining to demand programs in 3D.

  • Comment number 21.

    @trevorjharris Wimbledon semi finals and finals will be shot in 3D by Sony and at least 15 foreign broadcasters will carry the signal. Although publicly not yet acknowledged, the BBC will "do" 3D.

  • Comment number 22.

    i hope the 3d for wimbledon is just a 1-off, i wouldn't want a BBC3D channel, i'd rather have BBC2HD or Film4HD or something.

  • Comment number 23.

    hajj_3 (Post 22)
    There are more people wanting Film4 HD than any of the BBC HD channels as
    the BBC SD channels will be transmitted from all transmitters,
    but Film4 SD is only transmitted from 81 of the thousand transmitters. (Yes just 8%)

  • Comment number 24.

    Nice amount of notice to retune or purchase new equipment if necessary. Are you going to follow Sky tv and remove the DOG from the HD channels?

  • Comment number 25.

    Dear Dr Alix,

    Well, as you announced, I lost access to BBC One HD and BBC HD this morning.

    Will you, or anyone else from the BBC, be responding to the questions raised on this blog - especially answering why this change was made now and why only 1 working days notice was given?

    Or are blogs now seen as a way of deseminating results of decisions made by BBC management to their customers?

    Do you take any notice of feedback from customers or do we now have to do this via the BBC Trust? If not, what is the correct route?

    Will this now be the norm for BBC to give out general statements of direction and then implement them with 1 working days notice? Should I be wary that you might announce that FM Radio might shutdown tomorrow?

    I have made a formal complaint on this via the BBC's complaints procedure and also sent a request for an answer via the Radio Times Digital Doctor column in case they have any chance of getting a response from you.

    Regards - Annoyed of Brighton

  • Comment number 26.

    i agree, they should have given users 2 months of so notice. I'm glad that they have moved to DVB-S2 but they should have given the public more notice.

    Cheapest DVB-S2 card for a pc is £50 @ amazon

  • Comment number 27.

    I am amazed they they went ahead with this change knowing there were issuses with Harvard boxes. Just shows the contempt the BBC has for licence payers. Some people are reporting that the the SR is 22.0 and not 23.0 as published by the BBC. The BBC has also not updated the parameters on their own website.

    Even worst someone is also reporting a problem with a Panasonic TX-37LZD81 on Digital Spy so it looks as though some televisions will not work either.

    I think the BBC are going to get alot of complaints today!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Well this is great, got no signal at all on BBC HD feeds now. Retuned twice still no good. Thanks a lot BBC.

  • Comment number 29.

    the resolution is still 1440x1080i but the bitrate has increased from 7.1 to 9.5mbps. Better than nothing :)

    Apparently ITV3D is testing as of yesterday.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks BBC - my three year old Panasonic TH-50PZ81B TV - bought for £1800 at the time specifically because it was a Freesat HD TV - has now been made obsolete at three days notice. It won't retune at all to receive BBC 1 HD or BBC HD. How you can treat your customers with such contempt and so little notice of change is beyond me.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ #30 'How you can treat your customers with such contempt'
    well they have had years of practice, witness the PQ debate that has raged on & on with them remaining resolute that everything is fine & we are all wrong - any dissension is always quickly snuffed out by post removal or indeed closing down the blog
    It seems the resolution is STLL HD-Lite 1440, there arrogance knows no bounds...

  • Comment number 32.

    Its a farce, whoever is project managing the changeover should be fired!

  • Comment number 33.

    To clarify, SR is 23.0 Msymbol/Sec - scanned this morning with TransEdit using a TechnoTrend S2-3200 PCI card. Setting SR to 22.0 (or 24.0) results in no stations being found.

    I'm not sure of the relevance of the comment about bit-rate (#hajj_3). This was, and still is, varying according to picture complexity (of the watched channel but also of the other BBC HD channel and the encrypted ITV-1 channel on the transponder).

  • Comment number 34.

  • Comment number 35.

    Mearns01 - I've found - via AV-Forums - that the only way to get your TV (I have the same one) to work is to return it to shipping condition and start again. - It worked for me. I also have the DMR-BS850 Blu-Ray recorder and that doesn't work either but I haven't tried returning that to shipping condition yet.

    I agree totally about the poor quality of BBC-HD but what angers me even more is why we have to have DOGs in the corner. What is the point of having a higher quality picture and then wrecking it with a graphic permanently ruining the enjoyment for those of us who find it distracting?

    I thought the BBC was a quality broadcaster intent on setting standards, not on dragging them down.

  • Comment number 36.

    "If you have Sky, you will not notice the change and won't have to do anything on or after 6 June."

    That's not true for everyone. I and several other with a Sky HD box cannot now get BBC HD or BBC1 HD. Instead we get "no satellite signal"

    There's a thread on Digital Spy discussing it here: https://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1487383

    Clearly there IS an issue with some sky HD boxes. Sky say it's not their problem.

    The BBC broke it, so the BBC need to investigate and fix it please.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Oh Dear"!! I saw BBC HD in the shops, loved it and invested in a Freesat HD TV - in January 2009. I was a little 'miffed' when the "Freesat iPlayer" was not supported on the 2008 model range Panasonic Freesat TVs. Now I have a 37" 1080p Freesat TV that can not receive HD TV natively (I have rereun the Freesat Signal setup - no HD channels)......

    I was not expecting my very expensive HD TV to have a fully functional life of less than 3 years...

  • Comment number 38.

    Thanks "tatra-Man". I was having problems with my Panasonic DMR-XS350EB which is the DVD version of your BS850. Have reset to " shipping condition" and run auto setup again and all is fine now, got both BBC HDs back., so probably the same for your BS850. Many thanks again. Paul.

  • Comment number 39.

    PRBUK - You need to go into the setup menu and return the set to "Shipping condition". See my earlier comment.

    Anyone with a Panasonic DMR-BS850 or BS750 Blu-Ray recorder will need to do the same and then reset the thousand-odd personal settings!!

  • Comment number 40.

    My Amstrad 1TB box worked fine.

    My Thompson 4E3004 fails. Up to now I have tried power off reboot and a now install.

    4HD, ITVHD and 5HD still work fine.

    Why on earth did the BBC not seem to do any testing before doing this. I see there is still no reponce from the BBC on these problems.

  • Comment number 41.

    I like Trevor Harris now have problem on one (4E3004) of my 2 Thomson boxes since the BBC HD change to DVB-S2 early this morning – No Satellite Signal Received (Error Code 28). This is the main one but the multiroom works fine. I have swapped the LNB cables from one to the other but with the same result. Also the same result with or without the Sky card and excellent signals / quality on adjacent transponders. Have also forced a SW update but to no avail.

    As other S2 HD coded channels (Ch 4 & 5) work OK, perhaps our problem box will not handle the Symbol Rate: 23.0 and FEC: 8/9 settings? Others on another forum are also experiencing problems


  • Comment number 42.

    I have tweeted to @naglerhd and @skyhd and sent a complaint to the BBC but no responce yet. I think Sky may not be very pleased with the BBC.

  • Comment number 43.

    Yet another user with a Panasonic TV which now doesn't show HD from BBC. Will try a full factory reset and report back. BBC playing fast-and-loose again with picture changes without researching/testing effects and posting correct instructions.

  • Comment number 44.

    Following on from 41, my brother's TV, Panasonic TH-46 PZ81 does not now work on the BBC HD channels despite a Freesat retune. Surely BBC, you must do something on an urgent basis about making all this receiving equipment obsolete?


  • Comment number 45.

    At least we did get advance notice of a change. My system couldn't recognise the new channels when I entered them as 23000 symbol rate, but when I did a full scan, it now shows them as a 22000 symbol rate and works fine. I have BBC HD and BBC1 HD plus channel 6945, which appears to be an exact copy of BBC HD. All three channels have the standard dolby digital english audio channel, plus a narrated channel.

    I must admit, the Freeview and Freesat labelling is a little confusing, even though it appears accurate. I made sure any equipment I bought was DVB-S2 before I bought it, regardless of whether it was HD or not. At least DVB-S2 equipment seems cheaper than DVB-T2 equipment at the moment, and you would need DVB-T2 to get the terrestrial versions of the HD channels. People are still buying equipment that cannot receive this, including my parents who got the "assisted upgrade" as part of digital switchover, so they cannot receive the HD channels on their HD-ready TV via terrestrial.

  • Comment number 46.

    Panasonic TH-xxPZ81B series televisions will work OK when returned to shipping condition. A retune doesn't do it. Perhaps the BBC could post this info on the Freesat info channel to assist others who will come across this problem?

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm not happy. Lost both channels on my Sky+HD box too. Sky are aware, but I think more people need to contact them (@skyhd on Twitter or through My Sky online).

    I'm sure Sky will just replace my box with a compatible one, but my planner is full of programmes I haven't seen yet.

    Surely, this should have been checked first before implementation?

  • Comment number 48.

    Thanks for all your comments to last Thursday's blog post. I can see there are some strong feelings out there and I wanted to come back to you on a few specific points.

    First, as many of you have noticed, I can confirm that the move to DVB-S2 completed as scheduled early this morning. Thanks to a lot of people from the BBC and our partners (including Siemens, Astra, Sky and Freesat) for working through the night on the implementation to minimise disruption for viewers. In the end, the HD TV channels were off-air for only about half an hour.

    The vast majority of FreesatHD and SkyHD receivers have coped with the change as expected in a straightforward manner. But I realise that is little comfort for people experiencing problems with their own receivers, and I know that must be very frustrating for you. My advice is to call your receiver manufacturer, or Freesat (08450 990 990) or Sky (08442 411 653) as appropriate. The BBC has been working closely with our two platform partners both before and after implementing this change, including in planning and testing the change and then on the best way to resolve specific problems that a small number of viewers have experienced today.

    Some of you are asking about the rationale for the BBC's move to S2. It has been on our roadmap for the platform for some time now because it increases our spectrum efficiency. For this reason we've been advising that consumers to look for equipment that is DVB-S2 compatible:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbchd/faqs.shtml .

    On some of the speculation around what we are going to do with this additional capacity, S2 can enable a range of developments for us over the next couple of years. There will be news on the first of them in the coming days.

    Finally, a number of you have expressed a wish for more advance notice of this sort of change. I've taken this point on board and in future we'll do our best to post this kind of information further ahead of any planned changes.

  • Comment number 49.

    Re post 44, Dave Cheltenham - as others have said - and thanks Tatra-man for sorting me out in this respect - if your brother does a "Return to Shipping Condition" in Set Up he will get back BBC1 HD and BBC HD. I have a TH-50PZ81 and this worked. He should make a note of his Input Labels and any other personalised settings as he will lose all of these and he will have to start from scratch just as he did on day one when he took delivery of the set.

  • Comment number 50.

    I have a Panasonic TX-P42G20 and after doing a full auto re-tune had no problems with receiving the HD channels (despite being perplexed as to why i wasn't receiving them in the first place!)

  • Comment number 51.

    My early Thomson SkyHD box will not allow me to watch BBC 1 HD & BBC HD now. It's seems the Symbol Rates and FEC being used now won't work on my box. Is it legal for the BBC to be transmitting channels that can't be viewed by everyone. I can view Channel 4 HD & Five HD so what have the BBC done???



  • Comment number 52.

    Works fine on my Samsung Sky HD box. The tennis from Queens looked very good - although the same broadcast on Eurosport HD looked a little better - proof that the BBC need to up the resolution to 1920*1080. With the upgrade there is no excuse what so ever for the BBC to not upgrade resolution.

  • Comment number 53.

    Cant say I'm too impressed Alex (you maybe just the messenger, I accept) and the BBC for that matter. For such a change to take place, I would say it is debatable whether the "partners" - as in Sky, in my case - knew of the change. After speaking to them, they were unaware of such a problem. As you can tell, I have one of those Thomson boxes. Oh and please get the right technical help number listed above (you have quoted the one for Sky Active - the correct one is 08442 411411).

    Where was the communication to advise viewers such a change was taking place? Some sort of "teaser" between programmes on the affected channels wouldn't have gone amiss, just in case there were problems. Instead of having a shock and seeing the dreaded code 28 on both BBC HD and BBC1 HD.

    The first I got a whiff of "a change" was whilst I was viewing Holby City last night at 1:30 to say it would be out of action for satelitte viewers from between 2:00-2:30 (which it wasn't as it was still merrying showing the goings on at Holby throughout the whole duration).

    At the moment, it seems like a classic case of "pass the buck"; Sky blaming the BBC and saying they cant help and the BBC blaming Sky as "The BBC has been working closely with our two platform partners both before and after implementing this change". Unfortunately, the customers (as usual) are stuck in the place of the unknown with a box that cannot obtain two key HD channels.

    May I ask all those affected to go onto the Sky Forum where apparently, they are logging these complaints and trying to seek a resolution. By the same token, I hope those involved at BBCHD (Danielle included) are speaking to Sky about this issue and dont just hope this goes away as if but magic.


  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks BBC - smug comments about how much better everything is going to get and now not only can we not only get BBC 1 or 2 in HD, we have some very expensive equipment which despite being only a year old, appears to be completely obsolete. And yes, we have tried resetting everything and we STILL can't get HD on the BBC (although Channel 4 and ITV are available, weird or what?).

  • Comment number 55.

    While most of the parameters on 10847V were changed the relevant SID's for each channel remained the same. Some STB's & iDTV's e.g. Panasonic were unable to see the alterations made because the SID's remained unchanged. Some Panasonic's will retain the old parameters because a search on 10847V still has the same channels eg 6940, 6941 & 6942 & will reveal "No new channels found". I'm confident that if the SID's were changed equipment will "see" the change & scans or factory resets will not be required. PS: this is just a hunch.

  • Comment number 56.

    Move to DVB-S2 fair enough and a good move 4 days notice bad move, I have just returned from holiday and didn't know about this until I had no TV Signal on my Media Centre last night and immediately though it was a problem with my hardware.

    Now I need to buy a new TV Card, this takes time to sift through whats good and whats bad plus ordering and setting it all up.

    I am slightly miffed about this I have to say and really can't understand why this was done with such short notice, please give us an explanation we are all ears!

  • Comment number 57.

    As the owner of a two year old Panasonic TX-37LZD81 FreeSat Full HD television I assumed I would have access to HD TV. When I bought it I was also assured that it would enable me to use iPlayer and I have regularly chased Panasonic who will apparently be providing the software update "soon" (for 18 months now). So, who do I chase to get this fixed? The BBC? Panasonic? or the retailer (John Lewis).

    I think Trading Standards may also have a view. This is appalling treatment of customers and viewers and I certainly knew nothing about the change until yesterday when faced with a blank screen and Googled to discover a BBC statement here on the "Internet Blog" dated just a few days ago.

  • Comment number 58.

    Woke this a.m. to find no HD, on ANY channel, assumed it was a local temporary issue, not that unusual so I was,'t too worried. Tried again later, still nothing so I went online & found this page. I began to get pretty annoyed, but thought I'd try the re-tune idea. Checked the channels again & without doing anything they're all back. Will they drop out again?
    Rolfian, West Mids.

  • Comment number 59.

    LinowSat data now available for yesterday, shows resolution remains @ 1440*1080 & birate is identical to DVB-S despite the increased capacity on the transponder.
    No surprise there then, the BBC just do not care about Picture Quality - surely the overriding parameter for a HD service!

  • Comment number 60.

    I also experienced the loss of BBC HD and BBC1 HD yesterday on my TBS 6981 PC satellite tuner which is DVB-S2. I did a full transponder scan and no new channels and did a specific transponder scan and still nothing. Then at about 1:30 this morning they re-appear on the old channels with me doing nothing - whats really going on !!!!

  • Comment number 61.


    Thanks for your reply - it is refreshing to have a senior BBC manager responding so quickly.

    I would, however, make a couple of comments and associated recommendations:

    1. "working closely with our two platform partners" is not enough.

    a) You need to introduce a formal approval process with the platform partners, together with the associated manufacturers and vendors to ensure that changes are properly tested before being implemented.

    b) Other manuafacturers and vendors that produce "solutions" that allow reception of BBC programmes should also be provided with notification and access to test facilities (maybe chargable?).

    c) The BBC Trust should also have to approve any changes, acting as representatives of the license paying public.

    2. "do our best to post this kind of information further ahead of any planned changes" is also insufficient.

    d) You need to introduce a formal "change notification" procedure to advise platform partners, the associated (and other) manufacturers and vendors and the license paying public. Perhaps this could a function for the dtg?

    e) You need to provide a minimum of 6 months notice of planned changes that could result in kit being made obsolete. An undated Statement of Direction is insufficient. Emergency changes could be made faster but only with approval of the BBC Trust as detailed above.

    I look forward to seeing what the additional capacity you are releasing will be used for. If this rush change, knocking out my BBC HD services, was made to provide capacity for an Experimental Wimbledon 3D service I will be most upset.

  • Comment number 62.

    @Alix Pryde

    You seem to be passing the buck here by telling people to contact Sky ,Freesat etc. It is the BBC who need to fix the problem as they created it.

    The BBC took an enormouse risk in this rushed change. As far as I can see DVB-S2 has never been used on this satallite. You also chose a combination SR and FEC which has not been used before in the UK. It does now seem that everything the BBC does these days messes up. The droping of bitrate, the new encode fade problem, the freeview 1080p problem and now DVB-S2.

    So I now have a box which cannot receive BBC One HD or BBC HD but I still have to pay the licence fee.

    Lets hope these problems can be fixed with a software upgrade although this is likely to take several months.

    The legal position is not clear yet. People with Freesat receivers should get a full refund from the retailer. Sky are offering a free repacement of Thompson boxes because they do not work with anytime+. People using Sky boxes as Freesat boxes are in a mode difficult position. If they got it from Sky they should offered a repacement and retailers should offer a refund.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ Alix Pryde #48, Alix you go into detail about the problems with hardware for the transition, & rightly so. But yet again there is no mention of picture quality issues, as voiced many times on this thread & over on joinfreesat:

    The transition to DVB-S2 provides the ideal opportunity for the BBC to show they do actually care about PQ & do something about it, namely up the resolution from HD-Lite 1440*1080 to 1920*1080 & increase the bitrates. What is the point is having a naff & much-derided HD service that is by far the worst HD offering on Freesat?

  • Comment number 64.

    Sorted. Thanks to Barnsleykeith on DS and CS assistant Louise at Sky.

    Delete all 'added channels'. Go to the hidden services menu. Services, settings 0, 1, select and do a New Install.

  • Comment number 65.

    carrying on from the above take a look at comment #135 posted by 'ian' at June 7th 11:26am on the joinfreesat thread

  • Comment number 66.

    This was posted on the Sky forum by GrumpyGrouch (keith)

    Result. My Thomson 4E3004 is now receiving the problem channels. Phoned Sky and Louise sorted me out. Gave my Mobile and she phoned me 10 mins later. Took me through a routine on my HD box in the front bedroom. Had to delete all added channels then do a new install with card in. Bingo. Back to normal. Don't know if this would work without calling Sky or if they have to do an update as well. Give it a go and see

    This worked for me on my Thompson Box with Freesat from Sky card. Well done Sky and Keith for a quick solution.

  • Comment number 67.

    nur0 - comment 63 - HD picture quality is off topic on this post. So please no more specific comments about that.


  • Comment number 68.

    The forum police have arrived, WHERE then are we supposed to comment please Nick as all forums are closed down? The thread is about the move of the HD channels to DVB-S2, said DVB-S2 enables greater bandwidth on the transponder which could be well used to enhance the HD experience - how then is this off-topic?

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 - 100% agree, picture quality is fully on topic for this.

    If Nick wants to know what off topic is, please tell me why this is posted under BBC Internet...?!

  • Comment number 70.

    @Nick Reynolds

    Actually this whole post is off topic. Why was it made on the Internet Blog when it has nothing to do the Internet. Why was it not put on the TV Blog.

  • Comment number 71.

    As others have mentioned, quite appalling communication by the BBC about this. Why post this on a blog only, let alone at virtually no notice - which I didn't even know existed until I googled to find out why my HD channels had disappeared. A one-liner on the TV or even News site would have been better surely?

  • Comment number 72.

    trevorjharris - as I have explained before BBC HD has always been a subject for discussion on the Internet blog. This is largely because this blog started that conversation before the TV blog was set up and so readers are accustomed to finding it here. The TV blog also has a different more mainstream audience, whereas the Internet blog's audience is of a more technical bent.

    Picture quality is off topic because the changes on the 6th June have no impact on BBC HD picture quality and because the issue of BBC HD picture quality has now been ruled on by the BBC Trust.

    So comments after this one which are only and exclusively about picture quality will be removed.


  • Comment number 73.

    @Nick Reynolds

    Your answer seems to disagre with Danielle Naglers Post


    BBC HD: Hello TV blog, goodbye BBC Internet blog

    She does say Andy's posts will still be on the Internet Blog.

    The point here is that this announcement affects every HD viewer not only the technically minded. I suspect that many thousands of viewers have paid for an engineer to call to fix thier boxes being unaware of the change. Announcements should have also be made on air. Together with the very short warning time the BBC have handled this very badly.

    It was also rather irresponsible for the BBC to do this when it was known there were problems with DVB-S2 on some freesat boxes and televisions. The BBC could have leased space on another transponder for a short period if it was urgent.

    As for picture quality it is certainly understandable that people should ask the BBC to use the change to increase the bitrate and improve the picure quality.

  • Comment number 74.


    The use of the Internet Blog for HDTV matters by the BBC is akin to the 'kettling' technique used by the Met during demonstations in London. The aim being to contain any potential trouble where it can do least damage.

    The BBC continues to receive a lot of negative feedback, the latest being its handling of the switch to DVB-S2 for its satellite HD transmissions.

    A more pro-active and effective approach by the BBC would to be to address and discuss the issues raised in an open manner in the most relevant place.

  • Comment number 75.

    Is there any news on a fix to the white dot issue on BBC HD? it is most distracting especially on dark scenes, i thought it may have been fixed with the recent change to s2.

  • Comment number 76.

    Just to say, deleting other channels and a new install on my early Thomson Sky box worked fine in recovering the BBC HD channels.

    As already commented, too much haste and not enough testing for the new parameters.


  • Comment number 77.

    BBC, revert your ill-advised changes now!

    1. Non-technical minded people will spend money to fix your error!
    2. Not enough notification
    3. If it is an upgrade it should be backward compatible
    4. Lack of responsibility from the BBC

    You simply have lost the plot on this one and to put this on the Internet Blog is sheer arogance of the fact it is a TELEVISION CHANNEL!

  • Comment number 78.

    Yet another example that Freesat is not the BBC's preferred broadcasting medium.

  • Comment number 79.

    Just stumbled on this announcement by way of another technology site, the register. Surely there should be some better way of notifying ordinary mortals that things aren't infact broken and that a retune will work. My Humax just said no satellite signal, it isn't telling me to retune

  • Comment number 80.

    interesting as i have an early panasonic freesat hd tv too (TH-42PZ81B) and that found the new channels right away on a re-tune. ie: complete tune from Setup->Freesat Setup->Auto Setup, no return-to-shipping-condition needed.

    Possibly the difference is that in the intervening time I've installed firmware updates as they've become available...? (Setup->System Update - plug it into your home network first).

  • Comment number 81.

    My pet theory about the Little White Dot. It looks a lot like the tip of a mouse pointer that's been moved to the bottom of the screen, doesn't it?

    Now, I don't think I'd put the video path through a screen-capture stage, but TV engineers have always been a bit of a breed apart - maybe for instance it's the best way to gather media from disparate sources - eg: if no one piece of software can decode all the incoming material they get.

    The fact it sometimes seems to flicker or shimmer would simply be because it too is going through the encoder for transmission and is thus being affected by the content of neighbouring image data.

  • Comment number 82.

    StrangeNoise, I came up with the same theory as it happens with my own computer whcih i output at full hd via HDMI, i use extended desktop and find the mouse pointer seems to stick on the HDMI display but it is on the other screen at the same time! so i have to move it to the side of the screen to try to hide it. When using vlc media player under some video output methods does produce the identical white dot as the one on BBC HD but i can fix it fast by changing output method(Direct x is best) wonder if it is related?

  • Comment number 83.

    Coverage on The Register:

    'DVB-S2 is a more efficient modulation scheme than DVB-S, effectively increasing the available bandwidth. As yet, the BBC hasn't said what it plans to do with the extra space.'

  • Comment number 84.

    Unbelievable. I'm now going to have to spend over a hundred quid to buy a new tuner card for my media centre. Since I'm sure I won't be the only one having to order one in the next few days, there's going to be delays in getting one. This means I'm going to have to re-do all my series-linked recording on both BBC1HD and BBCHD.

    So, quite annoying. A bit more notice (prefereably a lot more notice), and some press releases before it happened, and maybe stick a notice on the "We can't show you your local news" screens as well?

  • Comment number 85.

    If people feel strongly about this then they can complain directly to the BBC trust:-


  • Comment number 86.

    FWIW Elgato EyeTV Sat and Sat Netstream products can receive it but auto-tune doesn't pick it up; just Manually Add Channel and use the numbers given in the post above.

    @NSM_HD well it was just a thought. I don't suppose they actually have a PC like that sitting in their video path! But we all have had moments playing fullscreen when the mouse wouldn't hide when it was supposed to, and yes, it was a definite case of deja vu. It's probably a more specialised bit of equipment that's controlled either remotely or via a specialised pushbutton interface, and is used to integrate everything into a framestore which is used as the source for the encoder. It *could* *possibly* be something a bit like a PC, but it would almost certainly be specialised in some way. But it could still have an on-screen user interface, with a pointer, that's supposed to go away when in actual use...

    Another thought I had is that it's actually a pixel or two of non-transparency on the DOG graphic. that's easy to test though: Does it disappear when the DOG does? I haven't been looking with that in mind, will now.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well thanks a lot BBC, I spent £300+ last year on a new freesat box and now I cant get channels 108 & 109 when I want to watch queens tennis. I have just done a full retune and still no joy. I live on a small pension and cant afford another upgrade, so again thanks a lot BBC, I feel truly sick.

  • Comment number 88.

    Hi - the "white dot" is also off topic on this post. This is not a general message board thread about all things BBC HD. Stay on topic please.


  • Comment number 89.

    Nick; it would help if there was a place where these things could be on-topic. otherwise people have to wait for posts like this to vent in where someone involved might actually hear it... :-) If there already is such a place, please point us to it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Nick, if there was a place where these touchy topics (and others possibly less touchy; eg: I have a ton of requests for repeats :-)) can be on-topic (and where they might actually be read by bbchd staff as opposed to random fora out on the interwebs), I'm sure that alone would do a lot to soothe passions around here. They pile in on any bbc hd related blog post because where else is there?

    Sorry if this is a (near) double-post. There seems to be something wrong with comment-posting and this is a rewrite of a post that seems to have gone awol.

  • Comment number 91.


    From post #48 it certainly looks like Wimbledon 3D if it is going to be announced in a few days.

    The BBC has configured the transponder to deliver 38.92Mb/s. This is lower than that generally used by Sky which is 43.88. This loss of 4.96 Mb/s might be a limitation of the 2D transponder. At the moment the BBC is transmitting 11.42 Mb/s as null bytes so they could use about 11 Mb/s for a 3D channel. Sky uses an average of 15 Mb/s for it's 3D channel. If the BBC uses the side by side method used by Sky my guess is that they will have to use 1920x1080 pixels to produce 960x1080 3D images.

    My point is that it is very important for the BBC to get this experiment right. If they get it wrong they could delay the introduction of 3D in the free to view market. If they get it right they could unleash a big demand for 3D. The problem is the BBC is not ready to do that. We still only have 1 proper HD channel from the BBC let alone 3D. Even Wimbldon 3D is being produced by Sony not the BBC.

  • Comment number 92.

    StrangeNoise - I'd suggest that people go to the Points of View message board if they want that kind of free wheeling discussion.


  • Comment number 93.

    Well, I have just got back home and I am pleased to hear though that this has been resolved.

    However, this does not detract from the fact that there has been a severe lack of communication by the BBC, for what was in affect a major technical/engineering change that in the end affected the viewing of two HD channels.

    Personally, I do not consider a blog posting published on a Thursday night (and on a BBC Internet Blog at that) to be sufficient warning of such an alteration that was always going to put at risk the viewing of those channels. Especially those who have invested in HD equipment from day one. It is tantamount to treating us, the viewing public and who pay the licence fee to receive such services, with scant consideration.

    May I recommend in future, if there any such technical/engineering changes that take place in future, the following should be considered to get the message across in a more reasonable fashion:

    1. A publication of a warning at the bottom of the BBC HD and BBC One websites (even if it is a link to a page such as this, if that is what the BBC deem to be sufficient notification) notifying the viewers that a technical/engineering change is taking place and if you have any problems refer as necessary to yourselves via the blog posting or your service provider.

    2. A public information film for 10-20 secs, "teaser", call it what you will, is shown at regular intervals inbetween programmes from about a month before the planned change is due to take place. If I can put up with the clip of polar bears playing in the snow in Planet Earth on BBC HD from day one of BBC HD broadcasting, I can certainly put up with a critical piece of information informing me that a change is taking place that could affect my viewing.

    Please bear in mind that some of our population are not adept at looking or relying on the internet to gain "titbits" of information, such as my elderly parents. It is somewhat arrogant to think otherwise.

    I look forward to hearing Alix/Nick's comments in due course and hope that in future, such instances are handled better and communicated more effectively

  • Comment number 94.

    Wasn't obvious where that was, but I found it under a stone here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/ :-) A BBC HD specific one would be better though. The POV messageboards are huge and full of everything.

  • Comment number 95.

    Well it looks as though was the real reason for these changes now. TechRadar accidently put up an embargoed press release confirming this. I understand joinfreesat will display it just after midnight. I looks as though it will be on the freesat epg but I am not sure about the Sky epg. It would make sense to include it on the Sky epg as they had over 70,000 3D subscribers last January.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sorry in post 95 I should have made it clear I was talking about Wimbledon 3D.

  • Comment number 97.

    TETRA-MAN thank you I have returned my DMR-BS750 to shipping mode and it has worked, no thanks to the BBC though. I like many had no idea what was wrong. then after two days with no BBC HD I googled the problem and found this page, otherwise I would still be at a loss as to what happened. BBC what a way to run a business, well we only pay for you all so dont deserve to be forewarned.

  • Comment number 98.

    Thought this was funny in the local ASDA store tonight


    Rows of Tv's like this, I would if BBC3D will look this good, secret announcement tomorrow dont tell anyone :-)

  • Comment number 99.

    Guardian online has the official scoop: Wimbledon finals will be in 3D on BBC HD (all platforms)

  • Comment number 100.

    It looks as though the 3D will be broadcast on the existing channels. So why the rush to DVB-S2. I wonder if the BBC will use it for increase in bitrate and switch to 1920 for the 3D. It is possible they will lease the space out to another channel to get lots of cash to pay the directors bonuses.


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